Home5GEricsson launches Global Utilities Innovation Center at its Texas facility

Ericsson launches Global Utilities Innovation Center at its Texas facility

Ericsson exec: ‘Private cellular networks are principal catalysts for the utilities sector’

Ericsson has opened a Global Utilities Innovation Center at its facility in Plano, Texas that houses a purpose-built operating lab and demo environment locations designed for utilities to experiment with 4G and 5G use cases and solve “real-world connectivity challenges.”

According to Ericsson’s Vice President and Head of Utilities, Energy & Industrials Koustuv Ghoshal, private cellular networks are “principal catalysts” for the utilities sector as they undergo their digital transformation journeys.

Integrated with Ericsson’s device testing lab a short distance from the Plano site, the Global Utilities Innovation Center provides a space for utilities and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) partners to test the interoperability of their field and IoT devices over mission-critical networks. The center also contains a physical representation of a utility smart grid, which Ericsson said enables “real-world demonstrations of end-to-end private networks operations across the power grid from generation and transmission to distribution to end users.”

“Utilities require mission-critical networks that have to be secure, reliable, and increasingly sustainable,” commented Per Wahlen, head of business development at Ericsson North America. “This center is a state-of-the art facility where we can work closely with utility companies, exploring new 4G and 5G use cases and delivering end-to-end solutions. At each point, you can see the benefits of the latest generations of cellular wireless networks in enhancing security, resilience, and efficiency of the power infrastructure.”

Recent investments seen in the utilities sector does, indeed, support Ericsson’s position that private cellular is a priority here. The New York Power Authority (NYPA), for instance, in February piloted a private LTE network with AT&T. That same month, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) bought 6MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz band from Anterix for a staggering $50 million.

And according to Jitender Vohra, director of carrier relations at Telit, those investments are starting to pay off, particularly when it comes to 5G. “The three main characteristics provided by 5G are greater speed, lower latency and greater number of devices that can be connected to the 5G network,” Vohra told Enterprise IoT Insights last month. “Today, we are just past the starting line and have already started to see a growing number of use cases to address initial customer problems. We expect to hear a lot more in the coming years as the infrastructure expands and more opportunities present themselves.”

 

 

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